WORTHINGTON — High school football coaches Gene Lais and Casey Hertz and Worthington Police Department Officer Chris Hillesheim received Lifesaving Awards from the WPD during Monday night's city council meeting in recognition of their actions in saving the life of Triston Sauerbrei, who collapsed Aug. 20 during WHS football practice.
Police Chief Troy Appel asked the three men to stand at the front of the council chambers while he related the events of Aug. 20.
He explained that when EMS dispatchers were alerted of Sauerbrei's collapse, Hillesheim was patrolling nearby and rushed on the scene within minutes. When Hillesheim arrived, Hertz and Lais were already examining Sauerbrei, who was not breathing and had no pulse. The coaches began CPR while Hillesheim used his squad car's automated external defibrillator to administer electric shocks that returned Sauerbrei's heartbeat to normal.
"This incident is a great example of school staff (including the entire coaching staff), law enforcement personnel and medical professionals effectively working together to save a life," Appel said. "Without the competence of any of the three, or without the lifesaving equipment provided to our police officers, a life would have been lost on the WHS football field on Aug. 20th.
"The actions of coaches Gene Lais and Casey Hertz and Officer Hillesheim were lifesaving, heroic and outstanding contributions to public safety in the city of Worthington," he added.
Sauerbrei and his parents presented the heroes with their Lifesaving Awards.
Mayor Mike Kuhle praised the men for their cool heads and clear thinking under pressure, adding, "we're very proud of all of you."
Sauerbrei's dad, Stacy, also addressed Lais, Hertz and Hillesheim.
"I just want to tell these guys and staff and everybody else who was involved how much we appreciate ... you saved our kid's life. What more heroic thing could you do?" he said.